Psychological Safety is like the analogy of the water the fish is swimming in: You don’t notice it’s there until something isn’t quite right and then it’s all you can focus on.
Understanding what Psychological Safety is and isn’t, and how to take responsibility for looking after it, is a really good investment in people and culture. It’s a protection against blame setting in and a salve for the finger pointing that often quickly emerges when an organisation and its people are under stress – whether that’s from the pandemic, from strategic shifts or just the normal cut and grind of organisational change and growth.
Our Sarit Vandegraaff has been running Psychological Safety workshops for our clients and flagged two behaviours as critical foundations:
- TRUST – this helps to create a non-judgemental space for new ideas and thoughts to be shared and enables people to own and learn from our mistakes. We talked about what this looks like and shared the language and behaviours that support it.
- ACCOUNTABILITY – this thrives in an environment of clarity – where people understand their responsibilities, deliverables and reporting lines so they can focus on learning and achieving rather than spending energy trying to figure out their place and supports.
Let us know if you’re curious about how you can up your Psychological Safety awareness and practice for your team or organisation. In the meantime here are some “mini-scripts” for Managers from Amy Edmondson.